Celebrating hospice care 9 – 15 October 2023
This week (9 – 15 October), we're celebrating hospice care and sharing the incredible work that NCH&C staff do to ensure our patients receive the best end-of-life care possible.
This week (9 – 15 October) is Hospice Care Week. We’re celebrating hospice care and sharing the incredible work that NCH&C staff do to ensure our patients receive the best end-of-life care possible.
We deliver a number of services to palliative and end-of-life patients across Norfolk, including community service, day treatment, and specialist in-patient units.
One of our palliative units, the Priscilla Bacon Lodge Hospice, recently moved to a brand new facility, following an extensive fundraising appeal from the Priscilla Bacon Hospice Charity. The new PBL hospice is conveniently located on the NNUH campus.
The launch of the new PBL marks the launch of a new Palliative Care Provider Collaborative between NCH&C, NNUH, and the Priscilla Bacon Hospice charity to seamlessly deliver specialist palliative care in Norfolk. The new facility will be a platform for education and research, supporting improvements in palliative and end-of-life care locally and nationally. It will become a hub for palliative care services, working with the University of East Anglia, and collaborating with the Norwich Research Park.
To celebrate Hospice Care Week and the opening of the new PBL, Ruby Cox, a Staff Nurse at PBL, shares her career journey and how she unexpectedly found a passion for working in end-of-life care…
My Hospice Journey
“My first experience of working in palliative care was as a student nurse. I trained at the University of Suffolk and I was in my final year of training. The allocations are pot-luck and I lucked in! (Although, at the time I didn’t think so). The university assigned me to work at St Elizabeth’s Hospice and my initial thoughts were “how am I going to cope with this?”, “what will I say to someone that is dying?”, “will it be too depressing?”. The thought of palliative care was daunting to me. However, I ended my twelve-week placement having found that a palliative pathway would be my future career.
“As nurses, we are taught to make our patients better and fix their problems. With palliative care, this mindset changes because we are not trying to treat our patients or heal them; we are there to support them holistically and provide comfort at their time of need. We have to realise that we cannot change the outcome for these people, but we can affect their journey. The most rewarding aspect of palliative care is learning about our patients’ lives and not just their diagnosis. It is paramount for us to not only know about our patients but also their families (this is known as family-centred care) and what matters the most to them. Palliative care creates a space for reflection and exploring our spirituality, and a hospice setting delivers the environment to do this.
“I knew after this placement at St Elizabeth’s that palliative care was my future. I was keen to work in a hospice straightaway, although after receiving guidance from previous mentors, I decided to gain some acute medical experience so began my nursing journey on A&E and AMU at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. This allowed me to learn about the deteriorating patient and helped me to identify the difference between a patient who is dying and a patient who has a reversible cause for their deterioration. After two years working in the hospital, I moved on to the Priscilla Bacon Lodge (PBL) where I have progressed to become one of the Senior Nurses. At PBL, we provide many palliative treatments such as intravenous antibiotics/fluids, bisphosphonates, blood transfusions, syringe drivers etc. These treatments are not curative but can be offered to support a better quality of life for our patients. Our wonderful new hospice setting provides a peaceful environment for patients and their loved ones to share their last precious memories. I feel so thankful to have been given the opportunity to work amongst so many compassionate and caring nurses who share the same passion for palliative care. To us, this is not a job but a vocation.”
Thanks so much to Ruby for sharing her career journey this Hospice Care Week.
Feeling inspired by Ruby’s story? Click here to see a list of our vacancies working with palliative patients in Norfolk.